US Olympic & Paralympic Committee Launches Covid Athlete Assistant Fund
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In partnership with the Athletes’ Advisory Council and national governing bodies–of which the U.S. Equestrian Federation is one–the USOPC said the fund is intended to ease financial disruption experienced during the global pandemic and Tokyo Games postponement.
“In communicating with Team USA athletes and their families, we have learned of the profound impact many are facing as the world navigates the Covid-19 pandemic and the Tokyo Games postponement,” said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland. “We have heard loud and clear there is a heightened need to help alleviate the financial burdens many are facing, and it is an opportunity for us to help and further support athletes during this unprecedented time.”
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Foundation will work with its network of donors to raise funds, 100% of which will go directly to eligible athletes who are currently training and in contention to represent the U.S. at the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Games.
The fundraising efforts will run through Sept. 30, with a target of providing direct financial support to athletes by November 2020. Donations can be made at support.TeamUSA.org/CAAF.
An anonymous long-time USOPF supporter has made an initial contribution of $500,000 to help launch the fund, and Ralph Lauren, an official Team USA Outfitter since 2008, is committing 25% of the purchase price from each unit from its Team USA One-Year-Out Collection.
A USOPC and AAC lsurvey found that 75% of American athletes who responded have had their earnings impacted as a result of the pandemic, with 26% losing more than half.
In addition to the fund, the USOPC, in coordination with NGBs, will continue to elevate athlete services and support, including strengthening efforts to promote mental and physical health, financial well-being through direct stipends and Elite Athlete Health Insurance, and high-performance support and training assistance.